Big Ten Celebrates 25 Years of Women's Championships

Aug. 28, 2006

PARK RIDGE, IL – During the 2006-07 season, the Big Ten Conference will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Big Ten Women’s Championships. From August 15, 2006 to July 2007, the conference will be sharing some of the many stories of student-athletes, teams, coaches and administrators who have made the past 25 years a success and have set the stage for “the story to continue.”

The campaign will begin with 11 public service announcements (PSA), highlighting the success and accomplishments of the past 25 years of women’s athletics in the conference, spanning from the 1981-82 season through 2005-06. A total of 11 current and former female student-athletes are featured in the Big Ten’s PSA, including active standouts Beth Vrdsky (Illinois volleyball), Samantha Findlay (Michigan softball) and Curlyne Wynn (Ohio State field hockey). Former conference student-athletes Erika Wicoff (Indiana golf), Michelle Trannel (Iowa rowing), Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse (Michigan State diving), Marie Roethlisberger (Minnesota gymnastics), Katrina Adams (Northwestern tennis), Christie Welsh (Penn State soccer), Katie Douglas (Purdue basketball) and Suzy Favor-Hamilton (Wisconsin track) will also be featured in the 30-second spots.

Over the past 25 years, the Big Ten has been a pioneer in the advancement of women’s athletics. In 1992, the Big Ten was the first conference to voluntarily adopt participation goals for female student-athletes, which included a 60/40 percent male-female participation ratio over a five-year period. The conference’s Gender Equity Action Plan (GEAP), a three-phase, 15-year plan, developed the popular “Dream Big” campaign and has helped establish a net gain of more than 2,000 women’s participation opportunities and a 53/47 participation ratio since its inception in 1992. To further demonstrate its commitment to gender equity, the Big Ten will implement Phase IV of the GEAP in August 2007. In addition, 32 new sports programs have been created and conference championships have expanded from 10 to 13 for female student-athletes during this time.

“The growth in the participation of women in athletics marks one of the most significant contributions toward gender equity that the Big Ten Conference and its institutions have made in the past 25 years,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “Increasing the opportunities for athletics participation for women has been an important conference objective. We view this anniversary not only as a celebration of our progress over the past quarter-century, but also as a reminder of the importance of continued progress in the future.”

Information about the “Celebrating 25 Years of Women’s Championships” campaign, including weekly feature stories, academic and athletic honors and a look back at the dominant dynasties and more, can be found on the official conference website –